Photo by DANIEL FARÒ

News | 08.25.2022

Why Is TikTok Is Stopping The Spread Of Educational Cannabis Content?

Although a new study says most of the cannabis content posted on TikTok is educational, the platform isn't having it.

Getting away with posting weed content on TikTok is like breaking into Fort Knox, impossible.

Even if you’re from a region where cannabis is legal, posting about it on TikTok comes with its list of consequences. For one thing, getting shadowbanned on TikTok is probably the easiest thing you can do on the app.

Just post a video about weed, it doesn’t even have to show weed, and your video won’t appear on the “For You Page.” This has promoted content creators to find different, sly ways to post about cannabis.

Whether that’s using symbols in words like “W*ed” or “C@nnabis,” or simply showing a puff of smoke without where it’s coming from. But, of course, TikTok is getting better at recognizing these attempts.

Community Guidelines

As someone from weed-friendly Canada, here’s my personal rundown, opinions, and thoughts on TikTok’s community guidelines.

TikTok users are prohibited from posting content “that depicts or promotes drugs, drug consumption, or encourages others to make, use, or trade drugs or other controlled substances.”

Well, cannabis isn’t a controlled substance in Canada. Can we still get away with it? All signs point to no.

If a video “depicts or promotes the misuse of legal substances, or instruction on how to make homemade substances, in an effort to become intoxicated,” that’s also banned.

Serious question, how do you misuse a legal substance? It’s understandable that TikTok doesn’t want to promote getting intoxicated, but people consume cannabis for that reason. I personally don’t understand how people in places where cannabis is legal can misuse it.

Positive Cannabis Content

It’s clear that TikTok wants to keep all things weed away from the platform. Even if the content is anecdotal reports about personal experiences and education around the plant, it’s still prohibited.

The app even banned a New York cannabis campaign that promoted mindful cannabis use and educated individuals on:

  • Not driving high
  • Using cannabis if you’re 21 and older
  • Being aware of where you’re smoking/who you’re around
  • The effects of cannabis on pregnant women and their babies

Funny enough, most of the cannabis content on TikTok is positive and educational. One study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review found that content creators posting about cannabis weren’t promoting it for intoxication or misuse.

The researchers gathered 881 viral videos about cannabis, finding them through hashtags and keywords. Out of the 881 videos, over 70% depicted humor, entertainment, and positive affiliations with using cannabis.

Furthermore, around 50% of the videos saw content creators talking about their positive experiences with cannabis. Finally, nearly 25% of the videos advocated for widespread acceptance, destigmatization, and accessibility to legal cannabis.

Still, it’s no surprise that many of these videos will likely be taken down in a matter of days.

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